RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WRITERS OF HANDBELL MUSIC
Because the vast majority of handbell choirs is found in churches, sacred titles are more successful than secular titles. Arrangements of hymns work well. Original music with generic titles like Contemplation or The Blessing can do very well.
One word of caution! Many of the worlds traditional denominations are related to national groups who are protective of their fine body of hymns and chants. When selecting a hymn to arrange, it is important to be sensitive to the needs of those churches, their congregations, and their communities. Some of these groups and their traditions define mainstream America, and it can be difficult to know where the line is when arranging a hymn that is native to one of them, especially if have you have grown up in their traditions. If you are not sure, it is best to stick to generic titles or hymns that cross national lines.
If you are writing for handbells, it is recommended that you be in a handbell choir to better understand the medium.
The following octave formats are most in demand. We routinely reject other combinations:
Once you have started writing in one of these octave formats, be careful to stick to the range limitations. Exceeding them will keep your music from being accepted for publication.
Keep in mind that an easier piece can be played by more church handbell choirs than a difficult piece and is likely to be more popular.
Also remember that simplicity does not replace quality. Most directors want more than simple block chords.
Elegance is usually more desirable than blatant bluster.
If published, your music may be played in a place of worship. Work carefully to produce a piece that is worthy!